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Electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids are becoming more popular as the years go on, thanks to a hike in gas prices in the past couple of years. However, many drivers are unaware of the benefits of each type of vehicle, so we are comparing two recent vehicles that we tested.

The 2023 Toyota RAV4 Prime is a plug-in hybrid that offers a lot for the money, while the 2023 Lexus RZ is a luxurious electric SUV with plenty of style. Many drivers may think that the Lexus is the better choice, given its prestigious nameplate, but the RAV4 Prime has a few tricks up its sleeve. Here are a few reasons the Toyota could be a better choice over the Lexus.

Range anxiety is not an issue in the 2023 Toyota RAV4 Prime

2023 Toyota RAV4 Prime badge
2023 Toyota RAV4 Prime | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

During the week we spent with the 2023 Lexus RZ, we experienced some range anxiety. Apparently, those 10 to 20-mile commutes to run errands add up, which quickly depletes the RZ’s 190-mile range. Before we knew it, we were charging the car to get ahead of the miles.

On the other hand, the 2023 Toyota RAV4 Prime has a 42-mile electric range, but once the miles run out, the gas engine kicks in. After that, the car operates like a normal gas/electric hybrid and returns excellent fuel efficiency. During the week we drove the RAV4 Prime, we averaged 38 mpg, which is stellar for a small SUV.

The Toyota RAV4 Prime charges quickly

2023 Toyota RAV4 Prime front view
2023 Toyota RAV4 Prime | Joe Santos MotorBiscuit

Another drawback of owning an electric car is having to charge it. While driving the Lexus RZ, we visited a few different charging stations. One of them didn’t charge very quickly, so we had to wait an hour to get it to a comfortable level (around 170 miles of range). At another station, we could charge it from 22% up to 80% in only 30 minutes, which isn’t bad. However, it did cost $20.

The Toyota RAV4 Prime didn’t require as much care. Since it’s a plug-in hybrid, it has a smaller battery to charge, which equates to faster charging times – even at home. We plugged the car into the normal 110-volt household outlet overnight, and it was fully charged in the morning. Of course, the 42 miles get used up quickly, but it works well if you only have to do a few short daily trips.

The RAV4 Prime has more cargo area than the Lexus RZ

2023 Lexus RZ cargo area
2023 Lexus RZ | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

An SUV’s cargo area is important if you must transport stuff daily. If you’re looking for the most cubic feet for your dollar, the Toyota RAV4 Prime has it. Well, at least by a small margin compared to the Lexus RZ. The RAV4 Prime has 33.5 cubic feet of space with the rear seats folded up and up to 55.6 cubic feet with them down.

The Lexus RZ offers up to 23.7 cubic feet with the seats up and 55.6 cubic feet with them down. It’s not a huge difference, but every inch counts regarding cargo space.

The Toyota RAV4 Prime is cheaper than the Lexus RZ

2023 Lexus RZ 450e side
2023 Lexus RZ 450e | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

Lastly, the Toyota RAV4 Prime is cheaper than the Lexus RZ. The RAV4 Prime costs $44,425, while the RZ costs $59,650. Both cars are eligible for a federal tax rebate, but the Toyota will be cheaper regardless. Price doesn’t affect either car’s daily drivability, but the money that drivers will save up front with the RAV4 means they can afford more things in their daily life.

As electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids become more popular, drivers will have many options to choose from. If these two vehicles are on anyone’s shortlist, these four reasons could be enough to go with the Toyota RAV4 Prime over the Lexus RZ.